Christ is coming and our celebration of his birth is building to its climax. Even in K-mart, Wal-mart, or Target the songs of “our savior” are being sung. If you are a bibliophile (book lover) you may get a gift card to amazon or Barnes and Noble. You may also get a small Christmas bonus to help make up for the fact that you’re the pastor leading the communion service Christmas eve while others head home. You might also have a friend with a birthday right after Christmas. For whatever reason you might be looking, here are some great gifts for the preachers in your life (including you.)
1. A brand new Bible. There is nothing more special to me, besides my family, in my house than my marked up and well-worn bible. But every few years, it’s time to wipe the mental slate clean, set aside the filled-up margins, and read the bible with fresh eyes again. I personally love the NIV wide margin leather bound bibles. The wide margins give me plenty of room to take notes or even outline sermons. I always have a few sermons ready to go because the outline for them is penciled into my bible’s margins. A new bible is out recently though that you may want to consider. The Common English Bible as sought to create a new, more readable, and less doctrinally slanted version. Abingdon has put it out, and the study bible comes with color illustrations of archaeological finds and historical background pieces. Listen to the general editor, Joel Green, discuss the translation in this embedded video:
If you can’t see the video, click here. Dr. Ken Schenck from Wesley Seminary helped in the translations for the book of Hebrews.
2. Dem Dry Bones: Preaching, Death, and Hope – by Luke A. Powery (Minneapolis, Minn: Fortress Press, 2012). A fresh preaching book can breath new life into the doldrums of weekly preaching if it’s a good one. This one is a good one. Dr. Luke Powery, new Dean of the Chapel at Duke University, has written a beautiful gem in “Dem Bones.” In this book Powery draws depth and beauty together with the threads of death and resurrection. A child of the pilgrim holiness church of the Caribbean with ties to other spirit-focused theological schools Powery will resonate with Wesleyan preacher’s theology and sentiments. He uses phrases like “death as the context of preaching” and “spiritual hermeneutics” all from the perspective of African American spirituals and their birth in preaching.
3. Preaching Creation: the Environment and the Pulpit – by John C. Holbert (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade, 2011). Some of you may already be nervous about my faith and theology simply by me mentioning the title. Others now assume I am closer to Jesus for the same reasons. Whatever you might think, preaching faithfully about creation and its stewardship is a great need in our pulpits. John Holbert who just received the life time achievement award at the Academy of Homiletics this year, has written a very accessible book about 100 pages long. In other words, it won’t over burden you. But if you have not yet delved into the theology of ecology from the old and new testaments this is a good book to start with. You may even come out of it with a sermon series in your mind.
Of course, you could just get them another piece of low-brow Christian art from the nearby bookstore, or fruitcake, or even socks. But if you want to get something for a preacher, none of these three ideas would go wrong.